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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5 Toplef10Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5 I22gcj10Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5 14dhcg10

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Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5

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Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5 Empty Hello from Central Maine-zone 4b/5

Post  Frank207 7/25/2021, 3:52 pm

Hi, I'm 76yrs. old and this is my first time trying a SFG.  I never was much into or interested in gardening but have decided to take this up more as a hobby than anything else. There is just the two of us to feed so we don't require a lot.  

Before I decided to try SFG I put some tomato plants into some 5gal. buckets with some potting mix, they seem to be doing ok.  Now I'm trying to educate myself on pruning them. I think I have understanding of the process  except what to do with the top part of the indeterminate tomato plant?

I built a 3'(actually 33")x5'x11"  Elevated raised bed last week using 2x6 lumber for a total of 12.6 cubic feet and will be filling it with Mel's Mix recipe, or as close as I can get it when my Vermiculite arrives by mail.  I had to order it online because no one carried any large bags around here especially this late in the season.  Hopefully I can grow something between now and fall and next year I'll build another raised bed just for tomatoes . 

Right now I'm trying to figure out this whole blended compost thing and after reading some of the post's I guess I'm not the only one a little confused.  

Frank
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Post  OhioGardener 7/25/2021, 4:47 pm

Welcome to the forum from Ohio, Frank!  Looking forward to seeing your progress with the raised bed. Be sure to check out the regional forum for New England where you will find other members who share your climate and growing conditions.  the New England forum can be found at:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/f4-new-england

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Post  quiltbea42 7/29/2021, 5:04 pm

Welcome from Southwestern Maine.  You can learn a lot about gardening on this forum. 
 
You do NOT have to prune your Determinate tomato plants.  They produce for a main seasonal time and then are done.  If you have lots of fruit on your vines and its still growing tall near the end of its expected harvest date, you can cut off the top and let the plant send its energy to ripening the fruit already on the vines.  

I have always found that home-grown veggies and fruit taste so much better than store-bought.  You will enjoy eating your bounty.
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Post  sanderson 7/30/2021, 6:08 am

Frank207 wrote:Hi, I'm 76yrs. old and this is my first time trying a SFG.  I never was much into or interested in gardening but have decided to take this up more as a hobby than anything else. There is just the two of us to feed so we don't require a lot.
  Welcome, Frank.  I was 64 when I started gardening.  Same as you, just the 2 of us.  But, somehow, I found I could always use one more bed, then another . . .  Very Happy .

Right now I'm trying to figure out this whole blended compost thing and after reading some of the post's I guess I'm not the only one a little confused.  Frank
May I recommend that you look at this thread regarding  blending composts.  https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t7451-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

The more varieties of composts (made from different raw materials), the more insurance that all the nutrients will be provided.  That said, since Covid and the rapid increase in home gardens, it is no longer as easy to find different sourced composts.  If you can find a manure-based, mushroom compost and one other, you will be lucky.  Be prepared to screen them as many of them now have pieces of wood, rocks, bottle caps, etc. in them.  A frame with 1/4" hardware cloth attached works fine.  Don't be surprised that a single bag turns out to only be 3/4 compost.  

Read the labels.  You only want pure composts, not soil amendment, raised bed mix, potting mix, etc.  A bag may have "fillers" such as peat moss, sand, top soil and other material.  If it contains peat moss, you will have to adjust downward the 1/3 part peat moss that makes up Mel's Mix.   Rules:  1.  Screen and blend your composts first. 2.  Fluff the peat moss.  3.  Measure the blended composts, fluffed peat moss and coarse vermiculite dry.  4.  Mix with a ton of water.  You can't get it too wet as MM drains well.  But if the peat moss is not soaking wet, you will have a heck of a time hydrating in the bed.  5.  Repeat until the bed is full.

If you have any questions regarding a certain compost that you find, feel free to ask if it okay to use. Or how much to use.

You don't need 11" of MM, only 6-7".  The bottom fill can be clean sand.  Here's some more reading suggestions.

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t23172-compost-types?highlight=compost

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t21089-recommended-store-bought-compost-photos-of-composts?highlight=compost

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Post  Nicola 8/11/2021, 1:27 am

Let me add my  welcome to the others.

Your 5-gallon buckets reminded me of the year before we moved (where now we have a yard to garden in) when we used bushel baskets as containers on our 2nd-floor porch.  I guess if we have the urge to garden, we'll find a way to do so!

All four of our tomato plants are indeterminate (even though my other half was looking for limited-growth determinate seedlings.)  When  I find an overgrown branch, I might weave it back down into the top of the tomato cage.
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